Christmas is fast approaching, and with that comes Starbucks’ annual holiday cup design. On November 3, 2015, the coffee company released its new cup style, which includes an ombre red cup that goes from a shade of bright red to a deep cranberry at the bottom, and still includes the green Starbucks’ label. According to Starbucks, the design was intended to offer a “blank canvas” to customers who like to doodle on the cups. However, placing the colors of Christmas on the cup itself wasn’t enough for certain Christian customers. Many are disappointed that the holiday cups no longer include Christmas decorations, such as snowmen and snowflakes, as they have in the past.
The craze began through the release of a video by social media star Josh Feuerstein. In his video, which first broadcasted on November 5th, Feuerstein expressed his belief that the cups should include more symbols relating to Christmas, and that employees should be allowed to write “Merry Christmas” on the cups. But because Starbucks is a company that serves those of all religions, they do not write a message on the cups that just pertains to one holiday. In his videos, Feuerstein urges his viewers to “tell baristas that their names are Merry Christmas,” so that it will be on their cups, and to post pictures of the cups on social media with the hashtag “#MerryChristmasStarbucks.”
In true social media fashion, contradictory hashtags have been created in opposition to Feuerstein and his supporters. New hashtags, “#Itsjustacup” and “#justacup” have been posted by over 9,000 people on Instagram alone. One Starbucks employee from a Starbucks located in Upper Dublin who wished to remain anonymous described the whole controversy as “ridiculous.” Her reaction was to take a neutral approach. When she says “have a nice day” to her customers as they leave the store, rather than “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy Holidays,” none of her customers have complained.
As many people know, Starbucks is a hot spot for teens to sit down and study with friends while enjoying a cup of coffee or a frap. When students from Upper Dublin High School were asked their views on the issue, most are either indifferent to the situation, or think it is ridiculous. Morgan Weiss, a junior at the school says, “I think that it’s good that Starbucks is straying away from putting religious sayings and symbols on the cups, because there are other religions out there that enjoy Starbucks as well.” Either way, student’s beliefs on the controversy don’t seem to be keeping them away from the coffee shops.
While people are certainly entitled to their opinion, this dispute seems to be yet another creation of the social media frenzy that has gripped the world. Are people truly offended by the lack of Christmas decorations on the cups, or is this simply a few individuals using social media to display their feelings and perhaps “stir” up some controversy? Either way, the cups will be gone soon and we can all turn our attention to celebrating the holidays, rather than arguing about how Starbucks should decorate their cups.